- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners who have launched hunger strikes has hit 21, military officials say.

Two have gone without food long enough to require medical treatment, United Press International reports. And eight have dropped enough weight to need nutritional supplements.

Inmates who refuse to eat are chained to chairs and forced-fed through tubes that go through their noses into their stomachs, UPI reports. They’re fed that way twice daily.

Through their attorneys, the inmates say they’re refusing food in protest of guards who search their personal copies of the Koran. Inmates say the search is tantamount to desecration — an accusation military officials deny.

The hunger strikes have gone on since early February, and on Monday, a Pentagon official issued a statement: We are “fully in acknowledgement” the strike has grown, UPI reported.

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